When the virus and its effect on our lives first became a reality, everything paused. Real life seemed to vanish, to be replaced by constant, never-ending, 24 hour news coverage of the global crisis, alongside social media flooded by this scary invisible killer.
COVID-19 & Businesses
We watched as country by country and border by border the looming shadow drew nearer, until in the end the UK and the US were forced into retreat too.
For the first time in modern history, our countries each undertook a planned, conscious, shutdown of all business & non-essential operations, unless that business could adapt to working from home.
New words and phrases began to permeate our consciousness: lockdown, the new normal, the R rate… and the whole business community, none of whom had seen this coming nor had this in their business plan for 2020, had to adapt overnight or face extinction.
How Do We Adapt?
After the initial pause, we began to see the first physical signs of our ‘new normal’ creeping into our daily lives. TV adverts were hastily withdrawn, re-edited, and all voice overs now began with:‘In these unprecedented times, you can rely on us…’
While this left some of us wondering how, exactly, all of our favourite brands thought that a soothing and reassuring advert would somehow help us out, it was the first steps in established businesses casting around and asking: ‘how on earth do we stay relevant now?’
When the world literally comes to a crashing halt, when no-one’s shopping or buying – unless its toilet rolls or hand sanitizers – how do businesses retain their existing clients and even attract new ones during a crisis like this?
Not only that, but on a more visceral, urgent, level – how do business leaders ensure it survives this long-term let alone short term, and that it’s still there for its staff, clients, supply chain?
It seemed that no-one knew that the whole world had stopped and the collective inhaling of the largest deep breath humanity’s ever taken was the entire business community breathing in on: ‘Okay. Now what?’ As each business and group of businesses exhaled, we began to see the first signs of our much lauded ‘new normal’ in action.
Enter The Technology
Video chats, streaming, group meetings….so began a new lexicon of words that previously only a few people had known. Now Zoom, MS Teams, and others, were at the front and centre of every business model being hastily created.
For us humans, there’s no substitution for face-to-face talking. So if we can’t do it in person, we’ll create our virtual online meeting rooms and boardrooms to replace this as the new normal, and then away we go, this is how we reach out and connect.
So from our living rooms, bedrooms, cupboards under the stairs, we began to talk to our colleagues and those around us on screens. It helped to establish routines, patterns, and to cement the new way of working.
It helped keep …